Julie Dupree tells Gun Trade News about the past and future of Dupree Creative, how it comes up with its marketing campaigns, and what goes into creating a brand identity
DUPREE CREATIVE (DC) IS a full service marketing and design agency specialising in outdoors markets and offering its clients a range of services including design, branding, strategic marketing, photography and digital services. Historically it has focused on the shooting and fishing markets but this specialism is now broadening.
Set up in 2001, Dupree Creative is owned by Martin and Julie Dupree who are supported by a team of staff including a creative director, a branding director, and people skilled in PR, digital design and digital development. Together the team offers a full range of creative skills and can meet the needs of clients wanting PR, a new advertising campaign, website, or a complete brand makeover and collateral.
Martin, the company’s managing director, built the business around a fascination and passion for outdoor pursuits and fieldsports in particular. After previously running a London-based agency design studio, Martin headed up Advantage for EMAP (now Bauer), an in-house agency creating design, print and websites for advertisers. Seeing an opportunity to set up his own agency, he discovered a personal loyalty from clients including Leeda, Daiwa and Penn, who were happy to re-direct their creative requirements his way. Shortly after, Sporting Gun magazine and Seeland International came on board.
Julie was a co-founder of the company, also having worked for EMAP in advertising sales on Sporting Gun and Angling Times among others. Today, Martin works on ‘big picture’ opportunities for the business, developing creative output with right-hand-man Andy Wright, Dupree’s creative director, and managing workflow through the studio on a day-to-day basis. Julie’s role involves winning new business, organising strategy days and overseeing PR campaigns and media schedules.
With its broad understanding of the fieldsports sector, Dupree Creative works for brands including Seeland International, the Danish manufacturer of shooting and hunting clothing, the CLA Game Fair, the Countryside Alliance, the Original Muck Company, Alan Paine, British Eventing, and Lyalvale Express. It also designed Sporting Gun magazine for many years, managing two re-launches during this time, and helped launch shootinguk.co.uk.
“As a full service creative agency we strive to produce an individual personality for all the brands we work with, using our expertise in design, digital, branding, strategic marketing and photography to ensure we deliver the USPs of the brand effectively and reach the right target audiences in the most appropriate way,” explains Julie. “Furthermore we have the skills here to offer clients the whole marketing mix. We often hear about companies that have employed just one person to do their marketing, and good as they may be, they are unlikely to have all the skills required. Dupree Creative offers additional specialisms that can only be found in a brand development company. Design companies and PR companies do not have strategic or creative directors on board that specialise in brand development; they help flesh out the meat that makes that critical difference for the brand.”
Creating individual personality for each brand is something the company prides itself on, and as Julie points out, this is a specialist, long and lengthy process. “Marketing is a broad term and encompasses many facets. To develop a brand involves a collective group of skills and an incredible amount of work. Ninety per cent of that work is strategic and very much behind the scenes, while 10 per cent is visual and incorporates the final designs, and the look and feel that people see. It’s a long process and you can’t undertake brand development simply from a visual perspective – you need to think about things such as tone of voice, personality, market positioning, what the values of the brand are and where the competition is.”
An example of creating a new brand identity can be seen in DC’s work for Lyalvale Express whose branding had, through its own admission, become tired, dated and disjointed. Lyalvale appointed DC to revitalise the brand, making it fresh and distinctive. “One of our principal aims was to retain important aspects of the existing brand to work on strategic positions and to pull through some of this DNA to the new look and feel,” Julie says. “With this in mind we adapted and updated the ‘X’ from the original logo, which has now become the main iconic part of the brand identity. Our research demonstrated the importance of confidence and reliability when choosing a cartridge, so we also added the strap line “make sure of it” to reinforce the message. Finally, we redesigned the packaging to reflect the confidence of the brand and to enable quick, easy cartridge recognition.”
For Seeland, the company has worked to create separate identities for the Seeland and Harkila lines of clothing. “There was initially no distinction between the two brands, and we are proud of the work we have done to position them both in the UK market and aim them at the correct audiences. The result is that Seeland and Harkila have gone from a small turnover in the UK to one in the millions.”
Digital marketing forms a significant part of Dupree’s work and by this the company means anything that is not on paper, such as social media, websites, video, photography and creative PR, which is an extremely fast-growing sector. “Traditional PR is no longer the only tool to be used in isolation,” Julie says. “Being creative is far more complex these days and involves a greater range of skills. The opportunities to market products using digital channels are enormous as demand grows for instant information, particularly on handheld devices. We strongly believe that the increase in prominence of digital media requires new tactics and offers new analytical opportunities. Companies that don’t encompass this or understand the new skills they require are going to be left behind.”